Rather predictably the Prime Minister has today announced a lessening of our current Covid restrictions. I strongly suspect this is aimed to placate rebellion amongst the back benchers who were not invited to the parties. I have not heard the scientists rushing to support this, I suspect that many of them like me feal this is too early. We have not reached 91% cover yet with 1 dose and we are still seeing over 400 deaths reported yesterday. There is no doubt the country is now moving in the right direction. I do not believe we can rely on the common sense of the great British people when our senior leaders continue to fall foul of their own laws.
The rule to work from home if possible has gone from today, but if you can do so more efficiently and with less risk, why not continue for your personal protection? School children need no longer to wear masks in the classroom from tomorrow, but they still need them in the corridors for another week. School teachers have already expressed their disapproval of this move. I think a lot of children will want to wear them. Ask the children for their views please and let us know.
The Mayor of London also opposes the move and says that for TfL they will be a condition of carriage on the London Underground. Officials can ask you to wear a mask and ask you to leave the train if you refuse, but the £200 fines end a week tomorrow.
We are also told that the isolation rules all lapse on 24th March and will not be renewed after that date and may be dropped before then.
We continue to do just over 1.3 million tests each day, which is less than we were doing a week ago. The number testing positive has gone back over 100,000 again. It has been less than that for almost a week. 108,069 were positive today. Looked at over the week as a whole, it’s a lot less than previous weeks and the absolute positive rate has dropped to below a thousand. The rate today was 941 positive cases per 100,000 of the population.
The hospital figures are also improving. The number admitted on a single day was 1,752 on 13th Jan compared with 1,892 the day before. The total number in hospital is 18,979 yesterday compared with 19,450 the day before. We continue to see the number on a ventilator drop and it is now 703. Remember this is no longer a reflection of ITU activity. Which term do you prefer ITU or ICU? They seem to be interchangeable in the UK. One being intensive therapy and one being intensive care. When I was working there in my early days, I remember a patient having a letter addressed to the Impressive Repair Unit. It most certainly was that.
The death figures are stable but at higher levels than I would like. 359 today, but 428 yesterday. The overall death rate of 2.4 per 100k of the population is still very low compared with many other countries.
Scotland have already announced all restrictions there will be lifted next Monday, but they are urged to use masks and still work from home if possible.
Abu Dhabi have announced they are to ban visitors who have not had three injections including a booster and have a negative flow test.
Four inmates in an Arkansas jail have filed a US law suit against the facility and its doctor. They claim they were unknowingly prescribed the drug ivermectin as a medical experiment to see its effect on Covid. This was contrary to Health officials advice in the USA, who had already found it ineffective. Ivermectin is a drug used against parasites in animals but can have known toxic side effects. If true this is dreadful and brings to mind Nazi doctors experimentation in prisons and camps during the war.
If you live in Hong Kong, I would hide your hamsters. I understand 11 hamsters tested positive for Covid at a pet shop and as a consequence a cull of 2,000 hamsters is being planned. There will be a lot of distress amongst the children.
Do not forget, its over to you to post things for Friday. It’s easy to do, just add it as a comment following today’s report. There is plenty of controversy to comment on. With a very high inflation rate announced today our economy needs stabilising as a priority. In our rush to get the UK back to normal how do we balance all the conflicting messages?
I firmly believe our overriding priority is to keep both ourselves and others safe whilst we ride out the storm. My personal safety plan will remain unchanged with masks while travelling tomorrow and a lateral flow test before meeting others. Thank you all for your very kind thoughts about my most remarkable aunt.
Stay safe everyone.